CSI Goes the Extra 200 Miles to Deliver an Early Christmas

Lead In Photo Itt Valve Shipment Fulfillment

It all started with an order placed in October of 2018 for nine block body valves ordered by a mechanical contractor in St. Louis. These valves were for Water For Injection (WFI) in a biotech application, and the installation was on a critical timeline scheduled for Monday, December 17.


On Wednesday, December 12, Laura Rael, our customer service representative assigned to the St. Louis account, received word that her drop shipment for the nine block body valves would not happen on Friday, December 14. She immediately went into action to make the shipment happen.

Our valve supplier said the best case was they would ship completed valves from their location on December 21 and at worst, on December 26. Within minutes of receiving the news, Laura spoke to our CEO, Mark Cook, about the issues and option for preparing the valves right here in our shop. The pending delay was clearly not acceptable with an installation date planned in three business days - so it was time to step it up.

Laura went back to the supplier and requested information on the current state of the valves. Could we get them in pieces? We learned they had already been machined, so we knew we could take over the work from here, but time was not on our side.

Plan A: We could ask the supplier to overnight the parts to arrive on Thursday, December 13. This option would allow us to ship on the original ship date of the 14th if all went well. In the meantime, we were considering other options in case the valve bodies did not arrive on time.

Plan B: We could order premade valves quickly from another distributor who had them in stock, and we could modify them to meet our customer's specifications. This option would potentially delay the delivery by a few days, but it would still beat the December 21 best case date from our original supplier. It turned out that they only had five unfinished valves in stock.

Now that we had two options - we decided to engage both plan A and plan B - for a fail-safe delivery. We didn't want to risk the original supplier's valves not coming in time so we had the backup plan in place too.

We knew we had expertise and agility to get an urgent project like this through our shop, but it required all hands on deck in various departments:

  • Project Management
  • Coordination Team
  • Shop Management
  • Warehouse Management
  • Welding
  • Polishing
  • Inspection
  • Shipping

First, we needed the drawings and arranged for their delivery to our VP of manufacturing, Bryan Billmyer, who then appointed Mark O'Connor, design/estimator, as project manager to take the lead as this job needed priority attention. Then we needed the coordination group to schedule all the required work in the shop.

As luck would have it, the unfinished valves didn't arrive on Thursday, because of a glitch with UPS pickups, so our supplier went to FedEx to drop the goods off but discovered they were closed. The valves arrived on Friday - which meant they would ship out Monday, December 17 if all went well.

Once all the valves arrived, our warehouse immediately notified Mark O'Connor who got the ball rolling on this project.

And how sweet it all was - poetry in motion from beginning to end:

  • Unpackage parts carefully
  • Send machined valve bodies to polishing for ID work - 20 RA
  • Elbows and ferrules to inspection for wall thinness, finish and visual check
  • Take to welding and cut back the elbows to hold print dimensions
  • Valves are through inspection after polishing 3/4 TC welded on
  • Visual inspection by welder
  • 2" ells purge tacked to the valve body and welded
  • Welds borescope by inspector
  • Parts sanded flat, then deburred
  • TC ferrules purge tacked on to ell and welded
  • Welds visually inspected by inspector
  • Parts go to polishing to have ID weld on 3/4" and both 2" TC welds polished out to a 20 RA
  • Parts through the wash bay - ultrasonic parts cleaner
  • On to inspection for last visual and RA check after polishing of ID welds
  • Inspection, then bonnets bolted to valve bodies
  • Parts capped and bubble wrapped for shipping

We started the workflow on Friday morning, finishing the TC ferrules on Friday, and completed the rest on Saturday, and all nine valves were ready for final inspection at 5 AM Monday, December 17 (the original installation date).

Instead of relying on UPS or Fedex, who would deliver the shipment overnight, we had a CSI employee drive the block body valves to St. Louis, in a CSI truck to arrive by noon. CSI's customer was able to complete their installation on time thanks to the team who was able to deliver Christmas a week early.

"CSI took the issue seriously and thought outside of the box for a resolution. I would like to extend special thanks to yourself and Laura Rael for staying committed to your word and facilitating the completion of the project on time. I look forward to future business with you and your team."

- CSI Valve Customer

Sometimes teamwork involves straightforward processes, and sometimes the needs are new and complex which require excellent communication and trust to achieve great results. We were able to do this because of the people at CSI.



Central States Industrial Equipment (CSI) is a leader in distribution of hygienic pipe, valves, fittings, pumps, heat exchangers, and MRO supplies for hygienic industrial processors, with four distribution facilities across the U.S. CSI also provides detail design and execution for hygienic process systems in the food, dairy, beverage, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and personal care industries. Specializing in process piping, system start-ups, and cleaning systems, CSI leverages technology, intellectual property, and industry expertise to deliver solutions to processing problems. More information can be found at www.csidesigns.com.